By Cynthia Hoang-Duong
WOODLAND, CA – In a packed courtroom Monday morning here in Yolo County Superior Court, news reporters filled the seats of the typically empty courtroom to await the appearance of the accused, a 21-year-old UC Davis sophomore arrested for the weeklong stabbings that plagued the college town in April.
The accused sat beside his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson, while Deputy District Attorney Frits van der Hoek joined Matthew De Moura on the prosecution team.
The frenzied discussions about the accused’s plea came to a close as DPD Hutchinson informed the court of his client’s mental incompetency.
“Your Honor, it is my firm opinion that my client is not mentally competent,” stated the DPD, “I’m therefore requesting that the court initiate competency proceedings pursuant to Penal Code section 1368.”
Accordingly, Judge Samuel T. McAdam suspended the criminal proceedings and ordered a psychiatric assessment of the accused to determine his mental competency.
While confirming the conditions and dates of the following proceedings, the accused raised his hand in an attempt to speak to the judge, causing his attorney to gesture for him to stop.
This occurred several times during the hearing, culminating when Judge McAdam concluded the hearing: the accused raised his hand again, requesting to speak.
The judge interrupted, reminding him of his 5th Amendment rights and instructing him to communicate with his attorney because the criminal proceedings are currently suspended.
When the DPD attempted to usher his client out of the courtroom, the accused arose and announced, “I don’t want an attorney,” forcing Hutchinson to gesture for him to exit the courtroom.
A subpoena hearing is set for June 6 to allow the DDA to produce subpoenaed records, including those from the Davis Fire Department, regarding the first victim and documents from the health care provider Wellpath.
Judge McAdam set the 1368 mental competency hearing for June 20.
The accused remains in custody in Yolo County Jail, without bail.